No one could quite believe it when Douglas Henshall announced he would be leaving Shetland after nine years in the crime drama.


Henshall portrayed Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez for seven seasons, with viewers watching his character unravel suspenseful murder mysteries set in Scotland's Shetland Islands.

With the eighth season set to begin on Wednesday 1st November, viewers will get to see newcomer Ashley Jensen as DI Ruth Calder, a Met Police Detective Inspector who has returned to her native Shetland "to retrieve the vulnerable witness to a gangland murder".

Ahead of the new season, Ashley Jensen spoke with Radio Times magazine about joining the programme and criticism from the Shetland fanbase.

Some fans have taken issue with Jensen joining the show as lead detective, instead of Tosh (Alison O'Donnell) taking the lead, but Jensen has paid no attention to the trolls.

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"I love working with Alison and bringing in my character shines a light on Tosh, so we see a different side to her.

"Of course, there will be people who miss Dougie [Henshall] because he was great, but with new directors and a new lead writer, Shetland has kept everything that's wonderful about it but it's somehow amplified," Jensen explained.

She added: "It's lovely that it's two women leading the show."

Henshall left his role after nearly 40 episodes, and earlier this year he admitted it would feel "a bit weird" not playing Perez anymore, but that he is ultimately happy with his decision.

Speaking exclusively to at the Radio Times Covers Party back in February, Henshall said: "I was comfortable to say goodbye to him, but I think it will probably be a bit weird for a wee while. But I think he's very happy, wherever he is."

Viewers will get the chance to meet the new Detective Inspector on Wednesday 1st November, who Jensen describes as "sometimes snippy, frustrated, defensive and not that nice".

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Shetland season 8 airs on Wednesday 1st November at 9pm on BBC One and iPlayer. Ann Cleeves's Shetland novels are available to buy now.

Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guideto find out what's on.


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